A Day On Isla Bastimentos

I really liked the vibe last night on Isla Bastimentos. It kind of reminded me of Jamaica (which isn’t surprising because it’s often described as a mini Jamaica) so I decided I’d go back today to walk around and see what there is there.

One girl from the hostel said she wanted to come so we got a water taxi ($3) at midday which took us to the “town” (it’s tiny and should just be called a little road). On Bastimentos there are no cars and I didn’t even see any bikes because the everything in the populated area is easy to walk to. I think the rest of the island is basically forest, maybe with some indigenous people.

There are a LOT less tourists in Bastimentos. I think there are only about 3 hostels there, and in the whole day today I only saw about 10 tourists. It was really hot so we went into one of the first bar/restaurants we saw called The BushMan’s Kitchen. The guy working there was a rasta with loads of piercings and I actually found him really hard to understand because his English (patois) was weird and his Spanish was also weird!

Everyone there seems to speak both patois and Spanish, but the patois is a lot harder for me to understand than Jamaican patois. Anyway the restaurant doesn’t serve food between lunch and dinner (and by this time it was like 2) so we just got a shake. Shakes are quite common here, and you can either have just a shake or a milkshake. A shake is just water blended with fresh fruit, and you already know what a milkshake is. Our pineapple shakes were $2.50 each (kind of expensive).

There were a couple of local guys there who came and sat with us for a bit, which was fun. I was hoping things like that would happen today because as I keep saying, it’s hard to have fun conversations with locals on Isla Colon. Again, this reminded me of Jamaica because people are always having random funny conversations there.

This is a disused house opposite BushMan’s Kitchen:

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After chilling there for a while and walking around some more we went to a restaurant which I don’t remember the name of. There was a sign for it on the road but we couldn’t see it, and then a man directed us down some steps. To our surprise these steps led to the inside of someone’s house!! We stood there completely baffled, wondering if we were going to be fed in their living room or something, but they told us to keep walking through, then we came to the restaurant:

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The seating area is on top of the sea. As usual there wasn’t much vegetarian stuff on the menu so I had vegetable rice which was actually really tasty and it cost $7, and we had passion fruit shakes for $1.75 each which were good as well. There was an annoying man who kept playing his guitar and singing next to us so in the end we gave him $1 each. He wasn’t even a great singer and we would have rather just talked, but oh well. I think I scared him off because after like 20 minutes of playing he asked what song I wanted and I said “silence is great as well, I’d like some silence right now” and then he left a few minutes later! The other people seemed relieved so at least it wasn’t just me.

This was the view from the seating area:

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We went to see Lamar who works in the Yemanja hostel who we met last night, and when we got there the bar was empty except for about 7 children running around etc. As if my back wasn’t already hurting enough from lifting up the kids on Solarte every weekday, these kids wanted piggy-backs too:

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They then wanted to use my camera for ages which didn’t surprise me. These are some of their photos:

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Bastimentos is so much more quiet and laid back than Bocas Town and I really enjoyed just chilling at Yemenja etc so I’ll probably go there most weekends. The houses do look a bit more run-down than on Isla Colon and a lot of guys talk to you on the street in Bastimentos so I guess I can understand why some people might not feel comfortable going there by themselves or whatever but I don’t think you’re likely to have any problems if you’re sensible.

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